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John Hickenlooper: The former restaurateur is collecting tips for how to govern Colorado

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For months, my e-mail has been deluged with a blizzard of messages from Colorado candidates. And although the City of Denver just announced that it's opening late today because of the snow, I just received my first generic message from Mayor John Hickenlooper, who announced his run for governor in late January.

I first met Hickenlooper the day he and his partners opened the Wynkoop Brewing Co. and invited journalists and neighbors for a free lunch. Back in 1988, Denver's economy was still in the dumps, and the Wynkoop opening was about the biggest news that year.

There's no shortage of news in 2010, with Ritter announcing that he would not run for a second term and Hickenlooper entering the race one of the first big stories. Now, two months later, Denver's mayor has finally put on his running shoes.

In the message that follows, Hickenlooper draws from his restaurant experience to outline what he plans to do for Colorado:

This is exciting.

To be honest, I didn't expect to be running for Governor of Colorado in 2010. As mayor of Denver, I already have a great job. But I'm humbled to take on the challenge. And with only seven months to go, we've got our work cut out for us.

We're not going to run a typical campaign. We're all as tired as you are of the mudslinging. We need to balance the budget and put people back to work, and we don't want to waste time and money on negative TV ads. We're going to campaign the way we've always done business -- by bringing people together, listening to their issues and finding solutions.

And it starts with you -- click here and let us know what your priorities are and your ideas on how we can work together to create jobs and strengthen Colorado's economy.

I never planned to run for office. I came to Denver 30 years ago with a degree in geology and a job in the energy industry. The oil bust came, and I found myself without a job. That's when I discovered the small businessman within me. I took my severance package and helped start a brewpub in a part of Denver that had been struggling for decades. People thought we were crazy at first, but we didn't quit. We worked hard, and in the end we built fourteen successful restaurants and created more than 1,000 good-paying jobs.

One of the things that helped put us over the top was the input we got from our customers and staff. People were always willing to share their ideas on how to brew a better beer or provide a better dinner. If it was good, we put it to work....

That was our approach to the restaurant business, it's how we've managed Denver, and it's how we'll govern Colorado.

In dealing with Denver's budget shortfall, we took good ideas from everywhere. Our janitorial staff suggested if they clean offices during the day, instead of at night, we would use less energy and save money. We ran the numbers and found that by making this common-sense change, the city of Denver would save $200,000 dollars every year.

We have some great ideas, and we bet you do too.

Click here to send me yours today and, together, let's put them to work.

We'll write you back to share the best ones. If you have an idea that will put people to work, save Colorado money, or just generally improve the quality of life in Colorado, we want to hear it.

We know this is not the way that most campaigns are run. But Colorado is facing some big challenges. We need new approaches. We're confident that, together, we can turn this economy around and come out stronger than we went in.

We can't wait to see what you have to say!

John Hickenlooper

Check, please!

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